Legal Terms: Letter J

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In pleading and practice, the joining or uniting together of parties, issues, or causes of action for the purpose of having a convenient and complete determination of an entire matter in controversy in one action.

To entitle persons to be joined as parties plaintiff or defendant in an action, there must be some privity or mutuality of interest between them in respect to the claim or defense. The joining of causes of action in one suit is permitted as a matter of convenience and to save multiplicity of suits. The chief requisite is that they shall be of the same general nature, and not be inconsistent. Issues are said to be joined when a fact or a conclusion of law is maintained by one party and controverted by the other.


The usual description of the important legislation of 1873, 1875, 1877, and 1881, whereby the judicial system of Great Britain and the procedure of the courts were radically altered and transformed. The acts comprehended in that designation are the 36 & 37 Vict., ch. 66, and 38 & 39 Vict., ch. 77, with amendments in 37 & 38 Vict., ch. 83, and in the laws of 1877, ch.9, and 1881, ch. 68. Most of the courts affected by this legislation were of great antiquity. The Court of Common Pleas, the Court of King's (or Queen's) Bench, the Court of Exchequer, the Court of Admiralty, the Court of Probate, and the Court for Divorce and matrimonial Causes, were all united and consolidated and were declared to constitute one "Supreme Court of Judicature." This court was divided into two permanent divisions, one of which, "Her Majesty's High Court of Justice," was invested with original jurisdiction of causes, together with appellate jurisdiction from certain inferior courts, which were not abolished; and the other, "Her Majesty's Court of Appeal," was given such appellate jurisdiction as might be incident to the determination of any appeal.

The most important change in procedure effected by the judicature acts was the provision that law and equity should be concurrently administered by the same court, and that equitable defenses should be allowed in legal actions. The distinction between legal and equitable rights was not abolished, but the same judge or court was authorized to administer both kinds of relief. These provisions make the powers of the High Court of Justice quite analogous to those of the superior courts of original jurisdiction in many of the United States under codes of procedure. A further important change in pleading and practice was the abolition of the old forms of action. While all the elements constituting a legal claim or defense must be set forth in a pleading, in pleading the pleader is not confined to an artificial and arbitrary form as before, but is simply required to deliver to the defendant a concise statement of his claim and of the relief or remedy to which he claims to be entitled, or a brief statement of his defense, as the case may be.

A third important change in procedure was a provision that an absolute assignment of contract debts and other rights of action should be deemed to pass all legal and equitable rights and title thereto, provided that notice was given to the person liable, and that the assignee should have all legal and other remedies for the enforcement of such rights. This obviated the necessity which existed under the old practice, of an assignee of a right of action, as a claim for money due, suing in the name of the former owner thereof. By these acts all jurisdiction vested in the judicial committee of the Privy Council upon appeal from any judgment or order of the High Court of Admiralty, or from any order in lunacy proceedings made by the Lord Chancellor, or any other person having jurisdiction in lunacy, was transferred to and vested in the Court of Appeals.


The recognition by a court of the existence, nature, or truth of something involved in an action, on the theory that it is self-evident, or that it is a matter of such common knowledge as not to require any proof to establish it. The doctrine originated in the civil law and has always existed in the English and American law. It is a rule founded on expediency and convenience, adapted to save time in the trial of an action. The questions as to what facts are such matters of universal knowledge or certainty as to warrant judicial notice being taken of them, rest largely in the discretion of the court, and this is exercised with great caution. In most jurisdictions, by statute, certain matters of both law and fact are required to be judicially noticed, such as the attestation of a copy of a public record by the proper officer under the great seal of the State, or that the publications of the State printer contain authenticated copies of the public statutes, etc. In general it is the right and sometimes the duty of courts to take judicial notice of the following facts: The common law and public statute law, the public offices and officers, and the rules of the courts and matters of public record of their own State; the political constitution of their own State government and of the United States, the existence and title of every foreign State and sovereign recognized by the United States; public proclamations of the Chief Executive of the State or nation, and all matters of such universal acceptation that there can be no dispute in regard to them, such as the divisions of time into years, months, and days, etc. In the absence of statute, where a court has any doubt as to a fact involved in a tr5ial, it has a right to and should require evidence tending to establish it to be introduced.

It is not essential, in order to take judicial notice of fact, that the trial judge should be personally familiar with it at the time of the trial, if before his decision he becomes convinced by his own investigation that it is a general fact never disputed by competent authorities, or or where he learns of a statute affecting the case subsequent to the trial. A jury has substantially the same liberty as a court to take notice of matters of fact upon the same principles as govern the courts, but cannot take cognizance of a law without instruction from the court. Neither a court nor a jury can consider in their deliberations any personal knowledge they may have of the peculiar circumstances of a case, unless they are set before them in the evidence, as they are bound to decide solely upon the law and evidence as brought out in the trial. In any case where a court assumes something to be true without proof, either counsel may object and introduce evidence tending to contradict the conclusion of the court. If a court refuses to allow such evidence, the party who offered to introduce it may appeal on that ground; and if the appellate court finds that the trial court erred in this respect, it may reverse the judgment and order a new trial. See Evidence, and consult the authorities there referred to.


One who finds a judgment; especially a presiding magistrate in a court of justice. The proceedings of courts of justice may be; (a to maintain the order of judicial procedure and make provision for the execution of judgments; (b) to find and interpret the legal rule or rules applicable to each case; (c) to determine what the facts in the case are, or at least what facts shall be taken to be proved.

While all these different functions frequently are discharged by a single authority, they frequently are separated. Representatives of the people, not otherwise connected with the administration of justice, are frequently charged with the decision of questions of fact, and sometimes with the decision of questions both of fact and of law. This last separation was regularly made in the Greek democracies, in the Roman Republic, and in the early German tribes. A magistrate who was not simply a judicial officer, but who also had duties of general administration, including, in some instances, military duties, an archon or praetor or prince or hundredman, presided over the administration of justice, but judgment was rendered by representatives of the people by "dikasts' or 'judices,' or (among the Germans) by all the freemen. Contrary to our modern usage, the term 'judge' was not regularly applied to the presiding magistrate, but to the representatives of the people who actually found the judgment. Among the Germans it was frequently applied to the 'wise men' or 'law-speakers' who suggested the judgment which the folk-moot approved or rejected. The term judge was not applied to the presiding magistrate by the Romans until, in the imperial period, he had become judge of the law and the facts. The term began to be applied to the presiding official by the Germans when he began (in the Frankish Empire) to obtain a considerable degree of control over the findings of the popular court. The relatively modern usage of describing the presiding magistrate as judge even when, as in English criminal procedure, he has no control over the judgment, is connected with the change which ahs separated judicial from general administration.

With the establishment of a separate and independent judiciary, placed beyond the reach of governmental interference, it has been found practicable, in all countries except those of the English law, to entrust to the judges the power of decision on the facts as well as on the law in civil cases. In criminal cases, however, the system of popular judgment has not only maintained itself in English law, but, after disappearing for centuries, has been reestablished on the Continent of Europe. So recent, however, has been the introduction of the jury system in Continental procedure that the inquisitorial traditions of the intermediate period are still strong, and the judge, to English eyes, seems to combine judicial functions with those of a public prosecutor.


The prosecutor on a general court-martial or military commission. In the United States the judge-advocate is usually detailed at the same time the authority for the convening of the court is issued, and, except in exceptional cases, is a member of the judge-advocate-general's department. In the British Army such duties devolve upon a specially detailed staff officer, or the prisoner's commanding officer. In district or regimental court-martials, the latter officer is usually represented by the regimental adjutant. The prisoner has the right to call on any regimental officer to speak in his behalf.


Website: The History
Article Name: Legal Terms: Letter J
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: The New International Encyclopedia; 1902-1905 Dodd, Mead and Company-New York Total of 21 Volumes
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